So, for a long time I thought it was preparation that made all the difference in racing. I’m coming to realize while preparation is indeed very important, perception is even more important.
I’ll give you an example. On January 1st of this year, I participated in the Lowell 1st Run. To say I felt it went poorly would be a gross understatement. There I was in FREEZING weather, having celebrated New Years Eve with a big dinner, running without much preparation. I came in last, with a time of around 1:32. It was a dreadful day. I felt slow, fat, and unhappy. In the end it turned out to be the starting point for this years weight loss, but it’s still a feeling I wouldn’t be happy to repeat.
Which is where the perception comes in. Last night, I did 6 miles out on the Esplanade. My GPS time for the distance was 1:23. I paused the clock for short water breaks after miles 2 and 4 because I had to go out of my way to get the water. Even with the water breaks, I’d have been no more than 1:25. While it’s only 7 minutes faster (and .2 miles less) it felt worlds better than what I did in January. Weather conditions played a part I’m sure, but just having done so much work, and gotten into better shape.
Unlike in January where I made myself jog past the point of being tired, last night I did intervals of 5 minutes of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking. I was able to keep that up through the entire time, and was only really feeling tired the last half mile or so. Considering I have less than 3 weeks of hardcore training time left until taper week, I’m going to have to push my miles these next couple of weeks but I am really starting to feel confident that I’ll be able to push myself through the half-marathon after the swim and bike.
As I’ve always stated, my goal for Timberman is just to finish. I’m basing all my estimates, plans and goals on the fact that my run is my weakest leg, but that it’s reliably weak. I’m fairly sure what times I’m capable of putting up even with tired legs. I feel that training for ~13:30 miles will allow me to average no worse than 15:00 miles on race day, meaning I need 3:17 to finish the half-mary. My previous 2 half marathon times were right around 3:20, but those didn’t follow a 56 mile bike ride. Giving myself some extra wiggle room means I need to allow 3:30 for the run.
So if I need 3 1/2 hours for the run, that leaves me 5 hours left for everything else. Assuming the swim takes me an hour or so, and say 15 minutes for the two transitions means I have approximately 3 3/4 hours to do the bike ride, so I’ll have to average 15 MPH. Not an easy ride, but certainly doable. If I can keep the second transition down from a time perspective, I can probably give myself a few extra minutes for the bike.
While none of this is going to be “easy”, and I am starting to get nervous (it’s less than a month away!), I honestly know this is something that I can accomplish. It will take significant effort. It will hurt somewhere along the way. I will be tired, and I might even want to quit at some point.
But I can and WILL do this.